Federal Regulators Announce Kansas Winter Storm Pricing Responses
Federal energy regulators said on Tuesday they were awaiting the results of an investigation into price hikes during February’s winter storm Uri as soon as possible, responding to questions from U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
The storm caused natural gas prices to skyrocket, slamming Kansas municipalities and resulting in plans by energy companies to pass price hikes on to consumers. State and federal regulators, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have launched inquiries into whether natural gas companies or middlemen are engaging in price hikes.
Following: Natural gas spikes “appear to violate Kansas law.” AG Derek Schmidt seeks expert help.
Richard Glick, president of FERC, told Marshall and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Tuesday that there had been several “anomalies” discovered during their initial examination, all of which were forwarded to the agency investigation unit.
“We are moving forward,” Glick said. “It takes time, unfortunately, because we have to analyze a lot of data. We haven’t made a final decision yet.”
Glick added that he “hoped” that the review would be completed in a few months.
Marshall pointed to the stratospheric bills seen by small businesses and municipalities in Kansas, pointing to an $ 8 million tab for the city of Winfield in February, orders of magnitude higher than their normal monthly bill of $ 130,000.
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“I just want to make sure you all feel the same pain that Kansans feel because of the economic costs of the winter events in February,” Marshall said. “I hope you can feel the same pain that we are going to feel for a decade.”
Customers of the state’s largest natural gas utility could see their bills increase from $ 5 to $ 17, with costs to Kansas Gas Service customers ranging over 10 years.
Evergy, the largest electric utility in much of eastern Kansas, has proposed a charge of $ 4.69 per month for the next two years in an effort to offset the $ 153 million in costs. extraordinary incurred by the company.
Following: Customers of Kansas’ main natural gas utility will see their bills increase after February’s cold snap
The Natural Gas Transportation Customer Coalition, a consumer rights legal group on energy issues, has set the ultimate costs to taxpayers at up to $ 1 billion.
Still, the Kansas Corporation Commission rejected a request by the NGTCC earlier this month to summon gas bills and market documents in an attempt to determine whether price increases had taken place. Instead, he deferred to federal and state regulators on these issues.
“We are focused on the conduct of our regulated utilities,” KCC Chairman Andrew French said during a hearing on the matter.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt said earlier this month that spikes in natural gas prices during the February winter storm “appear to violate Kansas law,” and he is seeking expert help with the investigation and potential lawsuits.
Andrew Bahl is a Statehouse senior reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 443-979-6100.